Monday, July 22, 2013

Leadership Through Love - (Chapter 9) - "Practically Speaking…and Walking" (Steve Martin)

Chapter 9 - Practically Speaking…and Walking

   Handle each piece of paper once
    - File so you can find it!

   Early morning – before the others come

   Take a Break

Every job has some tools that can be applied, and some guidelines and methods that help do a good work. Over the 33 years of management with businesses and ministries, there are some helpful methods that have worked for me, and which I’d like to pass onto you.

From time to time I felt it helpful to attend “day seminars”, to learn any possible new thing. One that proved to be very beneficial, and made it worth the $99 paid back in the early ‘80’s, was this: handle a piece of paper once.

How many stacks of paper do you currently have on your desk? How many file folders do you have, in the two-drawer or four-drawer filing cabinets? How many times have you picked up the same irritating piece of paper, that you just didn’t want to deal with, and then put it back in the stack to pick it up again the next hour, or the next day or week?

A former office desk of mine (2008)

After one seminar, where the spokesman had given a list of helpful, daily “To DO” items, one I actually tried to master was this: handle a piece of paper once.

I had heard that it takes 90 days to learn a regular discipline, and so I tried this one, determined to “pay for” that $99 investment. Beginning the next day at the office, I picked up a piece of paper that had been sitting on my desk, and I did one of several things:

  1. I marked the date I received it, with my initials.
  2. I wrote what action I was going to take with it – file, call, or write a response.
  3. I did what I wrote I was going to do – I made the call, wrote the response, and filed it in a paper folder for the file cabinet.
If I needed to retrieve it later, I knew what file folder I had placed it in, and I didn’t have to look through the stack of papers still on my desk, in several piles.

As I went through my stacks, I did the same thing – mark date received, action taken, file away for later retrieval as needed. My stacks began to shrink in size, and the daily pressure I had often previously, when I arrived at my desk and looked at the stacks, lessened.

                               The "Wall of Friends" in my office (2008)

In association with this, I am big on filing. But not only to file, but to know where you filed it in order to get it, when you need it. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to file documents away and then not be able to find them. It is critical that the hanging file folders, and the computer data folders, are labeled in such a way that you know under what label you put it.

On several occasions, there may be several choices under which to file a certain piece of information. In this case, I learned to think which category would I first think it would make sense to file it under, and so I did. Just as a library has more than one listing for a different book, you may also need to do this, just in case you forget which file you used.

When you have someone process your daily mail, I have found it most helpful to use two colored file folders. One is marked “Priority Mail” (I like a green folder for this) and the other, of another color, is marked “Misc. Mail”.  The personal letters, cards, and invoices from vendors go into this folder, while advertising, appeal letters, and such are put in the other folder. Magazines and catalogs are not placed in either folder. I can view them quickly, placing half immediately in the garbage can, along with the other junk mail.

When you have time to only look through some of the mail, it is the green “Priority Mail” folder that you will know to grab first.

Every administrator knows that interruptions are a daily occurrence, and that we just need to expect them. No matter how well you set up appointments, schedule daily or weekly tasks, or arrange meetings to administrate upcoming events, there are always interruptions that seem to take preference over anything else.

To offset ongoing, daily “fires” that needed putting out, I began coming into the office at least an hour before the other staff members. Just having that extra hour gave me needed time to get my day in order as best I could, or to complete a task that didn’t get done the day before. As much as you can, as the administrator of the business or ministry you work with, try to book these times where you know that it would be a major event to get you away from this “quiet, get it done” time. Even make it known to others ahead of time, that unless the church is burning down, you need uninterrupted time to yourself. For me, this is first thing in the morning.

The credenza in my former office (2008)
-used for filing and other things!

During the day, take breaks too! If much of your work is performed at the desk on the computer, then you need to take breaks by just getting up, walking to greet the others, or see how things are going on in other locations other than your room. Just moving from one spot to another can clear your head, give you a chance to think about other things, or simply to stretch. Too much concentration on one subject in one sitting made me too weary to give it what I needed. A short break helped the blood flow a bit better, to get back to the task at hand.

(Hey, and for what I paid for the $99 day above, look what you just saved by reading this instead. This chapter was worth the price of the book alone!)

Ahava ("love" in Hebrew) and shalom!

Steve Martin
Love For His People, Inc.

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Note: To read the Intro, Chapter Listings and first eight chapters, please use the Search Box in the top right hand corner of this Blog, and enter "Leadership Through Love." Be blessed in your reading!

Leadership Through Love

Chapter Listings

1.      A Gift for His Purposes

- The Early Years
- On the job training

2.      Use the Tools You Have, But Not the Staff

- Treasure the people, while digging the foundations
- Do unto them as you would…
- Bless and curse not: honor those who serve with you

3.      Right Man (or Woman!) for the Job

- All are created equal – make the most of this!
- If the Shoe Fits, Have Them Wear It

4.      Train and Let Loose

- It IS Who You Know and Are Known By
- Hire To Complement Your Strengths
- if you are weak, then they are strong
- Outsource as needed

5.      Burn Candles At Both Ends? – NOT!

- Rest and Sabbath Days
- Mornings with the Lord
- Trust in Him at all times
- We all are given 24 hours each day

6.       The Visionaries Need You!

-          They dream it - you make it happen
-          It takes a team
-          Head Won’t Get Far without the Neck
(or heads will roll)
7.      Field Trips and More!

- Staff Retreats
- Party Time!
- Birthdays and BBQs
- After Hours

8.      It Doesn’t All Depend On You

- The Lord is the Rock – Not You
- Whose strength  - yours or His?
   - Key Staff to Lean On
    - Trustworthy managers and assistants

9.      Practically Speaking…and Walking

- Handle each piece of paper once
- File so you can find it!
- Early morning – before the others come
- Take a Break

10.  Meetings – Time-manger or Time-waster?

- Do you really need all those meetings?
- Group or One-On-One?
- Why Morning and Mid-Week?
 - Prov. 24:6 “By wise counsel…multitude of counselors

11.  Acknowledge Him in All Your Ways

- Heart of Thankfulness
- Heart of Worship
- Heart of Service

12.  Another Man’s Vineyard

-          Follow & help fulfill their vision
-          Faithful with another’s
-          Learn and growth until your time
-          The proper way of moving on

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Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your head from the Lord Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach.

Steve Martin
Love For His People
Charlotte, NC USA